Olive oil, is one of the base ingredients for cooking. It is one of the first things you should have in your cooking cupboard. For the home chef, you have probably been buying olive oil for years. . However there are always dozens of options at the store. How do you choose? These few tips and tricks will help you when buying your olive oil to make your next recipe even better!
Fancy words don't always equal quality product!
When buy olive oil watch out for words like "Extra Lite." This is a product that they take about 10% olive oil and use canola oil to fill in the extra. It doesn't have the same flavor or the same use. If the bottle indicates it is good for "Frying" this is another tip of that it is not true olive oil. Olive oil has a low ignition point. Which means it will smoke or catch fire even at about 320 degrees not high enough to fry. This word is usually the tip off that it is not pure olive oil.
Cold Pressed and Extra VirginWhen shopping for olive oils the words to look for are First Cold Pressed and Extra Virgin. This means that no heat was applied during the extraction process and it is the first press of the olives. Heat can speed up the extraction which makes it more easier but can change the flavor, Cold Pressed olive oil will give you the purest flavor. Extra Virgin oil is the oil that comes from the first pressing of olives. Some oils you will see in the store are labeled as just "Virgin" or even just "Olive Oil." These oils would come from the second pressing of the olives or even just the pressing of the pomace- the pulpy remains after the first and second pressing.
Color of the bottle and the oil Also look for a dark bottle. Olive oil should be stored in a dark bottle, in a cool dark place. This will give your olive oil the longest shelf life.
Additives Many olive oils now that you can buy in the store are infused. Often with herbs, spices and citrus. These can be fun and flavorful additions but don't buy something like this over a good quality olive oil. It will do more to your food than these extra additives.
Extra: Origin of the Olive
Olives from different regions have different flavors. If you want to add a fun element to your next party, do an olive oil tasting and try the olives from different countries. Italy, Greece and California would be a great place to start!
If all of this seems too daunting, check out our hand-picked olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can't go wrong with these!